COVID and the Arts

It is no secret that we have all been struggling with the impacts of COVID. Since the announcement of the global pandemic on March 11 of 2020, we have watched the closure of many public spaces and the cancellation of events, which has had a tremendous effect on the arts sector. In April of 2020, 13 Arts Organizations from across Canada joined forces to make 5 key recommendations to the federal government. As one of the organizations that collaborated on those recommendations, Arts Habitat was pleased to see the Canada Council for the Arts offer additional funding during this unprecedented time. The Canada Council offered emergency support to the arts community through a two-phased approach. In phase 1 support was offered to arts organizations and phase 2 saw support for Indigenous and equity-seeking groups and organizations distributed.

As 2020 slides into 2021, the need to ensure the arts and arts organizations are sustained is more prevalent than ever. The numerous studies and surveys out there is a testament to this. Employment in the arts, entertainment, and recreation sector is now 27.9% lower than last year in the same period. The total number of hours worked in the sector is down by over 30% from this time last year. And the arts, entertainment, and recreation sector remain the furthest away from recovery at this point. The GDP of the arts, entertainment and recreation sector in September 2020 was 45.5% away from its February 2020 level.

The Canada Council for the Arts is holding its Annual Public Meeting on January 26th, 2021 at 2:00 pm MST by webcast. More information can be found on the Canada Council website which can be accessed by clicking here.

There is also information you may find valuable on The Canadian Association for the Performing Arts website. They have released recent indicators from Stats Canada, specifically about the pandemic and how it is affecting the arts sector. You can read that report by clicking here.

Other information to watch for over the next few months is

  • The Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage will be determining their work moving forward, including finishing the study on how COVID-19 impacts the arts and beginning their study of C-10, An Act to Amend the Broadcasting Act.
  • The Government is to determine the priorities and direction for Budget 2021 line items
  • The Canadian Heritage and Canad Council are designing program parameters for short-term emergency funding
  • The Canada Heritage and Innovation, Science and Industry to begin further studies on the Review of the Copyright Act
  • Budget 2021 released. If there are any new funds announced, this will trigger the affected departments and ministries to design how these funds will be used

We have also updated our resource section for COVID 19 information. You can find that information by clicking here.